Eight policemen were killed by their colleagues after they were poisoned in their base in southern Afghanistan in the latest “insider attack”.
“The infiltrators first poisoned their colleagues and then shot them dead,” provincial spokesman Gul Islam Seyal told AFP news agency on Saturday, adding the attackers fled the area taking all the weapons and munitions from the base.
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So-called insider attacks – when Afghan soldiers and police turn their guns on their colleagues or on international troops – have been a major problem during the more than 15-year-long war.
Such attacks have sapped morale and caused deep mistrust within security ranks.
In a similar incident last month, an Afghan policeman linked to the Taliban shot dead 11 of his colleagues at a checkpoint in the neighbouring Helmand province.
And last September, two Afghan soldiers with suspected Taliban links killed at least 12 of their comrades as they slept in the volatile northern province of Kunduz.
Separately on Saturday, gunmen attacked a military air base in the eastern province of Khost.
Khost police spokesman Faizullah Ghairat said three assailants attacked the base, close to the border with Pakistan. One had been killed while two others were still holding out, he said.
There was no immediate comment from the headquarters of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Kabul.
The incident comes just ahead of the normal start of the spring fighting season, when warmer weather brings increased operations by both insurgents and government forces.
Afghan and US officials have warned that Afghanistan will see increased fighting this year as the Taliban steps up an insurgency that has cut the area controlled by the government to below 60 percent.
Earlier this week, the head of US Central Command, General Joseph Votel, asked for more American troops to join the roughly 8,400 already stationed there.
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Source: News agencies